I am writing to you while you nap. Time for writing is precious. I have so much to say---just as you do! At 13 months, you have such an eloquent voice! They say that children will emphasize different areas of development at this age---one child may be very very mobile and not necessarily be very interested in talking. Or another child may have exquisite fine motor skills but have very little interest in walking yet. As your head-over-heels parent, I think you are perfect in every aspect, yet you are definitely emphasizing your joy in communicating. Over the past couple months, Papa and I had been recording your words in a journal, but there are just so many new ones every day, that I admit we've stopped recording. A few weeks ago, your word count was around 70 words, and that didn't count the words you know in sign language and the words you know in Spanish (LeyLey, your nanny, who you spend 4 days a week with, talks to you only in Spanish, so by now you definitely know more Spanish than I do) . My point is, you are FUN (one of your new favorite words) and you are talking up a storm with us---with enthusiasm, with emphatic tone when necessary (you get that from Papa), and with sweetness.
And a year has passed since you and I "gritted and graced" our way through Laborland. From Laborland into Zoraland. It is mind-boggling that it has been a year. This is the hardest thing I've ever done. And the best thing I've ever done. In our "yearly letter" we sent out to friends and family at the New Year, I realized my theme was "tired and happy". It has been tiring most certainly. And we are happy. You really are pretty much pure joy, Zora. Even when we are tired beyond tired, even when we don't quite know what you want or what you are trying to do or say, even when you fuss and are in pain from cutting molars and cry much of the night, I want you to know that you are a joy to your Papa and I. We are so happy to be sharing the world with you. The three of us are laughing together daily. Laughing and smiling and learning learning learning. It is so amazing to watch you learn and explore. This journey to bring you into the world and share with you all that we know and all that we are--it is a gift I would not trade for millions upon millions of dollars.
I write to you with the hope that I can share a glimpse of who you are--that you can look back and see baby Zora.
Who is Zora Gloria in her first year?
Zora, you are really sweet. One of your favorite words acquired in the past month or so is "baby". You also know the sign for baby which is to pretend to cradle a baby in your arms and rock it back and forth. Sometimes you will come and set yourself in my lap and snuggle in and say in a gentle tone "baby" so that I will rock you like the sign for baby. And you have come to strongly associate a soft fleece blanket with sleeping and napping so that sometimes, if that blanket is in the middle of the living room floor, you walk over to it, bring yourself down to the floor, press your face into the blanket and just lay there and cuddle, whether it's naptime or not. And you've also come to associate the phrase "kisses from Mama" or "kisses from Papa" with leaning your head in close to facilitate the smooches---sometimes if we are sitting in close together with you on my lap, you don't even wait for one of us to say the "kisses...."---so much so that you've caught me off guard and I end up with a mouthful of your forehead before I realize what you are wanting! There is a softness to your way of being, Zora. You are sweet.
Zora, you are also quite enthusiastic. Another word you've acquired in the past few weeks is "outside"----you say "thside!" And you say it loud. And you say it with a certain demand. You really really like to go outside. One day last week you woke from a nap and when I came into the room to see you sitting up in your crib, you smiled and shouted, "TH-SIDE!" Yes, Zora! We got hats and sunglasses and sunscreen and headed outSIDE!
Zora, you are silly. The nature-nurture debate aside, we owe some credit to LeyLey, your nanny, for your love of silliness and laughter. LeyLey is about as fun as they come. She is silly with you and you seem to thrive on the laughter that the two of you share. I could be jealous of all of the fun that the two of you have when I am away at work 4 days a week, but that would be a big waste of time and energy. I am so grateful that you have such a joyful playmate. A recent fun game that the two of you play is "Whoa!". This amounts to one of you pretending to fall backward---usually with your back against the couch---- and saying "Whooooaaaaa!" and then giggling like crazy. At this point, you initiate this "game" with Mama and Papa regularly----going over to the couch, leaning way back and throwing your head back, and saying "whoa" and waiting for Mama or Papa to join you. Fun fun, Zora, you are FUN!
Zora, your sleep has been all over the map. In your first few months, your Papa and I thought we'd hit the jackpot with infant sleep. You slept 6 to 8 hour stretches by the time you were only 6 weeks old. That continued into the 3 to 4 month range and we were even getting 10 hour stretches at that point. Then in the fall, those luxurious long stretches became less reliable. By December, we were a bit "disoriented". We were still holding to the idea that you were a great sleeper, but in fact, sleep was hard! You would wake up a lot throughout the night. All hell broke loose when we traveled to the east coast over the holidays. We all slept horribly! And when we returned home in January, yuck--total sleep disruption for weeks and weeks. Your Mama and Papa were grumpy, Zora. I recall that when you were born, one of our friends (who now has adult children) amicably said "And thus commences a year of no sleep!" At the time, I remember Papa being a bit defiant and saying that we would get a good sleeper---he is an optimist in all the best ways. But by January, we were starting to see that indeed, the first year with a baby is a year of no sleep. January through April were 4 months of you getting cold after cold after cold. This meant fairly constant coughing. This meant fairly constantly disturbed sleep. This meant Mama and Papa trading off being the one to sleep in your room so that at least one of would get some sleep. Hard times! And don't forget that I started this entry by saying "tired and happy"---because as much as we wish we got better sleep, when we wake up in the morning and you grin your wide grin and the first thing you say is "Walk, walk, walk!" (meaning get me out of this crib so I can grab your fingers and practice walking!), it turns immediately from a bleary-eyed morning to a fun morning. Tired and happy. Here we are now in June. Sleep is just starting to become less interrupted (Knock on wood, please!) Developmental experts suggest that when major milestones are accomplished, sleep settles into better patterns. With you having become an official "walker" in the past couple weeks, your Papa and I are hoping we are moving toward better sleep! And with that, I think it sounds like your nap is over....
Here's a little visual walk through the past 6 months with you....
|Here is your adorable grin when you were about 5 months old.|
|Here you are with your Baba---having a joyous month of November when she came to take care of you!|
|Here you are, happy in your Nana's arms, at about 7 months when she came to take care of you for December.|
|Here you are at about 6 months old coming to terms with the weight of your 99 percentile-sized noggin.|
|All I can say is, LeyLey is fun. Here you are "wearing" her hair.|
|And here the two of you are again. I know you look a little zoned out in this picture---must be because of all of the fun you've been having up until we got out the camera....! Here you are about 9 months old.|
|9 months. Food is fun!|
|10 months. Out walking with Mama. Behind us are your mountains, Zora.|
|It's pretty easy to love you, Zora.|
|These eyes! This was your first overnight camping/climbing trip. We went to Shelf Road with Sarah and David. You were about 10 months old.|
|I wish I could say your sleep is always so peaceful This was when we were camping at Shelf Road---Zora sleeping in the Taj Mahal tent of Lisa.|
|Almost one year. Laughing with Papa.|
|This is at your 1 year birthday party---it was a couple weeks early so that we could celebrate it with Nana and Grampa Lockman who were visiting in late April. Here you are with "your Lisa". Lisa, Lisa, Lisa!!!!|
|One year birthday party.|
|Almost a year old---hanging out on Pearl Street with Grampa.|
|More luxurious "outside sleep". Here you are in your PacknPlay at a climbing crag in Boulder Canyon. This was just a few weeks ago---you are just over a year old here.|
|That same climbing day--somewhere in Boulder Canyon.|
|And here---a favorite spot indeed---the swamp across the street.|